Beginning patchwork

I’ve had the Klutz Patchwork and Quilting kit (by Barbara Kane) for a fair few years now, and never done anything with it, although I’ve kept thinking I should. What finally inspired me was not finding mothballs on sale for our sukka schach in the months between last Sukkot (which is an autumn festival) and our move a couple of months ago. The move made a good opportunity to clean off and better store our sukka and schach, and I did have a packet of loose herbal moth repellant from Fibrecrafts in the UK (although their website doesn’t list it any more) that I’d never used either, so I decided it was time to put all these factors together and make some patchwork moth repelling sachets!

Simple patchwork sachet in green and purple

I originally intended to use the whole kit on twelve sachets for the schach, my yarn and our clothing, so didn’t put all that much of the repellant in each one, but about halfway through my DH declared that they were far too pretty (even the somewhat garish ones)
Embellished sachet in pink, orange, green and purple
to be hidden away and possibly damaged in schach. I wasn’t so convinced, but decided they probably were a bit too big for the purpose, so I used some of the scrap white fabric to make some very small (and pretty boring) sachets (which I don’t think I photographed, unfortunately) for that, and was then left with half the kit, and half the moth repellant stuff.

Improving my skills and trying quilting seemed the next step, so that’s what I did!
Squares laid out but not yet sewn for 4 by 4 patchwork square
It wasn’t quite so easy to keep a 4×4 patchwork piece properly square as the 2×2 had been, but it’s not too horrible for a first attempt, I think…
front of finished quilted tablemat  - 16 triangle squares
I didn’t intend to hide the messed up (and thus non-square) corner under the shadow, but there you go! 😉

As I hadn’t intended doing a quilted piece I didn’t have one whole backing square left, so had to use two halves, which we decided would look better (and more intentional) if split again into quarters:
back of finished quilted table mat - four quarters

The actual quilting wasn’t difficult, what with following the diagonal lines on the front, but it’s when I came to my second quilted piece that I ran into problems. Before that I used up the rest of the kit squares and main backing pieces to make a couple more sachets (which ended up much fatter than the first few, since I had all that filling to use up – they are the two in the top right of the following picture).
8 sachets and quilted tablemat
Here’s a back view of some of them:
back of 6 sachets

After using up all the main pieces of the kit I still had two whole border strips, and various reasonably sized scraps of the backing pieces and the other border strip it comes with, as well as the white selvage from the printed fabric, as well as the matching thread colours. I also had a torn shirt a friend had been about to throw away when I said I’d take it for the fabric to use for backing, and a worn out washcloth for batting, so I decided to make a second tablemat in very rough log cabin style. (I knew about that from crocheting, although I hadn’t realised the light/dark alternation was seen as integral until just now while finding that link. I’ve also just learnt that traditionally this pattern wasn’t (always) quilted. Oh well.)

I didn’t worry much about the width of the strips, but just added them on as the length was right, while keeping the main colours reasonably spread out. (I did join two shorter pieces for one of the blue strips.) I stopped when I no longer had a choice of pieces for the front, which was just a little smaller than the washcloth (allowing me to cut off the seamed edges), and then cut a piece from the back of the shirt to fit. (Sorry I don’t have any progress pics.) Then I started quilting.

The problem was that there weren’t a lot of clear lines to follow, and even where there were, they weren’t consistent over the whole piece. What I probably should have done was to evenly follow some of the pinstripe lines of the backing, but I didn’t realise until I’d already started doing other things. Oh well, it was a fairly experimental practice piece. I followed the lines in the pink sections, as well as the green ones (extending one of those), and then in the blue sections dotted stitches of the appropriate colour to be reasonably invisible. Obviously neither technique was going to work in the white sections (at least without breaking out some other thread), and in any case they looked too plain, so there I made a virtue of necessity, and made little stars/flowers that are supposed to be reminiscent of the green stars in the blue sections. It’s rather a hodgepodge, but I don’t think the front looks too bad:
front of second quilted tablemat
The back, however, is really rather a mess:
back of second quilted tablemat
My personal opinion is that on the striped shirt backing, and with the border in place (the border which thankfully hides some of the mess around the edges) the thing looks like a toddler’s first scribbles on lined paper, which oh-so-proud parents have framed for posterity! My DH and my mother (who visited last week) insist on being impressed with my handiwork anyway, but there’s no denying that while people treat the first tablemat as double-sided, you’re never going to think the back of this one as a potential front!

So definitely the next thing to learn in quilting is how to choose where to put your stitching, and that’s not something I’ve found online, although there are lots of great tutorials for everything else. Oh well, it’s a great excuse to trawl the (second-hand) bookshops for quilting books to add to my craft shelf!

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